The History of the Study of Landforms or the Development of Geomorphology: Volume 5: Geomorphology in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century
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This volume is the fifth in the definitive series, The History of the Study of Landforms or the Development of Geomorphology. Volume 1 (1964) dealt with contributions to the field up to 1890, Volume 2 (1973) with the concepts and contributions of William Morris Davis and Volume 3 (1991) covered historical and regional themes during the ‘classic’ period of geomorphology (1890–1950). Volume 4 (2008) concentrated on studies of geomorphological processes and Quaternary geomorphology between 1890 and 1965; by the end of this period, process-based studies had become dominant. Volume 5 builds on this platform, covering in detail the revolutionary changes in approach that characterized the study of geomorphology in the second half of the twentieth century. It is divided into three sections: the first deals with changes in approach and method; the second with changes in ideas and the broader scientific context within which geomorphology is studied; and the final section details advances in research on processes and landforms. The volume's objective is to describe and analyse many of the developments that provide a foundation for the rich and varied subject matter of twenty-first century geomorphology.
Published:October 21, 2022
Christopher R. Burn, Antoni G. Lewkowicz, 2022. "Permafrost geomorphology", The History of the Study of Landforms or the Development of Geomorphology: Volume 5: Geomorphology in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century, T. P. Burt, A. S. Goudie, H. A. Viles
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Permafrost geomorphology came of age in 1965–2000, evolving from a field-based subdiscipline largely based on qualitative observation to one of detailed process measurement, field experimentation, and analytical modelling. In this, the development of permafrost geomorphology exemplified the change in geomorphology as a whole. Fundamental advances were made in understanding the development of ice wedges and ice-wedge polygons and the genesis and growth of closed-system pingos, especially by J. Ross Mackay working in the continuous permafrost terrain of the western Canadian Arctic coastlands. Mackay also investigated moisture movement in relation to the ground thermal regime, which led to seminal insights regarding ground freezing, frost heave, near-surface ground ice development, and hummocky micro-relief. Others used these ideas to examine frost shattering of rocks and the development of sorted circles, as most well known from Svalbard. In the second half of the period, measurements of permafrost creep and deformation of hillslopes and rock glaciers were presented, complementing antecedent measurements of solifluction in the active layer. Significant investigations of thermokarst development foreshadowed the preoccupation with permafrost thaw that now gathers so much attention.